Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Kenan-Flagler: The Case of Washington University in St. Louis

Earlier this year Fortune published a ranking of business schools from which Kenan-Flagler at the University of North Carolina had been omitted. It turned out that QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd, who collected the data for the rankings, had confused the school with one at North Carolina State University.

Kenan-Flagler was justifiably outraged and protested, Fortune promptly removed the rankings from their site and Nunzio Quacquarelli, director of QS, was appropriately apologetic, saying that it was the fault of junior ataff and that such a thing had never happened before and would never happen agian.

It appears that such a thing has happened again in the THES-QS 2007 World University Rankings. According to QS, Washington University in St Louis (WUSL) fell from 48th place to 161st. This happened, not because of Z-scores or anything like that, but because it was awarded a score of precisely 1 for citations per faculty, well below any other university in the top 200.

This is obviously completely wrong. WUSL is a major research university and is ranked 12th in the US by the US News and World Report for 2007.

A clue to what happened is that at the same time the University of Washington rose from 84th to 55th place in the rankings with a score for research of 92 , much higher than its score on any other component.

It looks as though QS got the two universities mixed up and attributed all the citations that should have gone to WUSL to the University of Washington.

It will be interesting to see what happens. Will WUSL protest or even notice? Will THES do the decent thing like Fortune and withdraw the 2007 rankings from their web site? Will Nunzio Quacquarelli blame his junior staff and promise that such a thing will never happen again?


Wow!ter said...

I suspect a similar thing is taking place in the Netherlands, but I can't prove it (yet). With the University of Amsterdam and the Free University located in Amsterdam as well.

Kevin said...

Oh that clears it up thanks